Published: April, 2012| Christine Herrman

Law enforcement is responsible for clearing cases using definitions provided by the FBI. Case unfounding is a clearance method that includes, but is not limited to, cases that are determined to be false reports. Unfortunately, in many sexual assault cases, unfounding may also be used improperly to clear cases that are believed or assumed to be false, rather than factually proven to be false. Over the course of 18 months, the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force (ORSATF) trained approximately 600 Oregon police officers in 4 Oregon departments about the proper case closure methods for sexual assault reports. Concurrently, the ORSATF conducted a series of audits of sexual assault reports that had been cleared as “unfounded” by those 4 departments. Results from the data indicated strongly that a relatively basic training had a tremendous impact on the rates of incorrectly coding sexual assault cases as “unfounded.”